I get this question asked from time to time: Does being shy mean I’m introverted? I’m an introverted Phlegmatic with a Myers-Briggs of INFP and I feel pretty qualified to answer that.
As a child I was VERY bashful. I did not interact a lot with others, I didn’t have a lot of friends and my mother tells me I was a very compliant child. I believe introversion formed the basis of this shyness which lasted well into college.
However I believe that even the most hardnosed introvert can overcome shyness. As an adult I have made my living in sales and marketing; I dislike cold calling and I don’t “schmooze”. After a large presentation or meeting I still have the introvert’s need to go hide somewhere to recharge.
But I CAN make presentations and I CAN call people when I have to and I CAN hold conversations with strangers. So what happened?
I believe that a strong program of self-development over the years helped my self-confidence. Reading self-help books, listening to speakers, implementing techniques that I learned — all these helped. That and simply being thrown into situations that MADE me interact with others.
Studying temperament and personality has also helped me tremendously by helping me learn that my introversion was natural and not some sort of social disease! I believe introverts are born but that shyness is a controllable, changeable behavior. I’d like to hear other points of view as well — let me know if you disagree!